May the additional excise duty be applied as an administrative sanction? - PKF Hungary Hírek

May the additional excise duty be applied as an administrative sanction?

C‑657/22. – SC Bitulpetrolium Serv SRL | Citing administrative shortcomings, an additional excise duty cannot be imposed if it does not correspond to the actual use of the excise product.

The plaintiff in a Romanian case is a fuel manufacturer and wholesaler who failed to indicate the marking and coloring of the fuel oil on the cancellation invoices and did not report to the customs authorities the return of excise goods to the tax warehouse operated by them.

Although the plaintiff did not claim a refund of the excise tax on the returned goods, the Romanian customs authority deemed that due to the unreported return and the absence of fuel oil marking details on the cancellation document, the plaintiff sold the returned fuel as motor fuel. Consequently, they demanded from the plaintiff the difference between the excise tax due on motor fuel – a significantly higher amount – and the excise tax paid on the fuel oil.

The European Court of Justice took the view that it contravenes the principle of proportionality if the national tax authority imposes an obligation to pay the additional excise tax, with a punitive nature, based on administrative shortcomings, without considering the actual use of the product.

Full English text of the judgement

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